In my post What are Financial Bloggers Good For, I mentioned the capability of a parent to claim their child’s school fees as a medical expense (if you qualify under the CRA rules). Mark helped me out with that, and he suggested that I outline the steps that I took to get that credit from the CRA.
As taken from the RC 4064 - Medical and Disability-Related Information 2012 page from the CRA site:
School for persons with an impairment in physical or mental functions - a medical practitioner must certify in writing that the equipment, facilities, or personnel specially provided by that school are required because of the person’s physical or mental impairment.
So, if you have a disabled child, you may be able to claim their school fees as a medical expense, however, it is not automatic, you must ask the CRA if you are allowed to claim the fees as a medical expense. Now remember that the school itself does not necessarily have to be a school for children with disabilities, however, it must offer a program, staff or equipment for your child’s learning disabilities.
How do you do this, you may ask, here are the steps that we took to apply to the CRA for this (yes, we were granted this tax credit, however, I have been asked (twice) for proof of fees, so remember to keep your receipts) (yes I will be linking to the articles I have already written on the topics involved, you can also find them on the RDSP menu item at the top of the web site):
- Apply to get the CRA Child Disabililty Benefit for your child, if your child is not identified by the CRA you cannot apply for this tax credit. In our case we had help from CHEO with all the paper work. (Your child will also need a SIN number to make this application).
- We found a school that will work with the specific behavioural issues my son has. In this case there was a first school, which then went bankrupt, so we found a second school, which knew about the Medical Tax Credit and was willing to help us as well. If you find a specific school for your child’s needs, ask if they have had folks apply for the Medical Tax Credit for Education before, they may be able to help you as well.
- We had our Occupational Therapist write a letter about the programs at the school and how they will help my son. Our O.T. went to the school to observe the programs (at each school) before she wrote this letter. This letter alone is not enough for the CRA, so you have more work to do (an O.T. is not a sufficient medical practitioner).
- Our Doctor then wrote a second letter, referring to the letter from the Occupational Therapist and endorsing the school(s) program as being required for my son. This usually costs money to get from your Doctor (in this case my son’s Paediatrician) , however a small price to pay (usually $25). The Blunt Bean Counter helped out a lot here too, he consulted with me, as he had clients who had applied for the tax credit (he gave me a skeleton for the letter to the CRA).
- Collect the receipts for the year for your child’s schooling, as these must be included as part of the request (note, if you have found a public school that meets your child’s needs, congratulations, but you can’t claim the medical expense either).
- It couldn’t hurt to include duplicates of the original Disability Grant from the CRA.
- A third letter needs to be written by you (the parents), as a cover letter outlining:
- Your child’s specifics (when the disability benefit was granted, their Social Insurance Number, Age, etc.,)
- The letters you have included and why they are included
- A request that the medical credit be granted for your child along with the Totals from your receipts
- Off you go to the Post Office to send a Registered letter with all the documents included (make sure they are signed originals)
- You wait. You can check the CRA web site to see what the current status of the request might be.
As with all of the other challenges you have as the parent of a Disabled Child nothing comes easily, but don’t let that deter you.